Cybercriminals Steal an Estimated $8 Billion in COVID Relief Funds

Weekly Newsletter | October 16, 2020 | Subscribe

COVID-19 Related Fraud

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Politico: 'Too sweet of a pie': Cybercriminals steal $8B in Covid relief funds Around the world, cybercriminals have pocketed an estimated $8 billion that were meant for people who were forced out of work because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The IG predicts that $26 billion in the federal aid programs alone eventually could be lost to fraud.

Business Insider: Wells Fargo has fired more than 100 workers for lying in order to get COVID-19 relief funds It was reported that Wells Fargo has terminated between 100 and 125 workers for improperly obtaining COVID-19 relief funds by lying on their applications in order to defraud the SBA by making false representations in applying for coronavirus relief fund.

Dept. of Justice: Second Charlotte Man Involved in Two Separate Identity Theft Schemes Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges A North Carolina man, who previously pleaded guilty to federal charges for his role in two separate schemes involving identity theft earlier this summer, was recently charged alongside a co-conspirator for using stolen identities to file for, and receive, COVID-19 Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. According to the court documents, over the course of the investigation to the earlier schemes, it was then discovered that the men were executing similar schemes involving COVID benefits.

Dept. of Justice: Florida Recording Artist and Pennsylvania Man Charged in $24 Million Covid-Relief Fraud Scheme A Florida recording artist and a Pennsylvania towing company owner have been charged for alleged participation in a scheme to file fraudulent loan applications seeking more than $24 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. The recording artist allegedly received $426,717 for his company, LLC and of $708,065 for his other company, Blue Star Records LLC, both using falsified documents. He allegedly purchased a Ferrari for $96,000 and made other luxury purchases using PPP loan proceeds.

National Law Review: DOJ Prioritizes Health Care Fraud in the Pandemic Recently, the Department of Justice announced its largest health care fraud enforcement action. The DOJ charged 345 defendants with more than $6 billion in fraud losses for submitting false and fraudulent claims to federal health care programs and private insurers. The DOJ has also pivoted towards investigating telemedicine fraud allegations as telemedicine has played an important role in the time of COVID-19.

Dept. of Justice: Federal Court Issues Temporary Restraining Order Against El Paso Man Offering Fraudulent Coronavirus Prevention Treatments In order to combat alleged fraud against the COVID-19 pandemic, federal authorities have obtained a civil injunction against an El Paso man to stop his sale of fraudulent COVID-19 prevention treatments through his business and his Facebook webpage, “Centro de Medicina Fisica y Rehabilitacion.”

WFAA: Coppell man charged in $24 million COVID-19 relief fraud, DOJ says A Texas man has been charged for allegedly seeking around $24.8 million in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. He allegedly submitted 15 fraudulent applications, filed under the names of various businesses that he owned or controlled, to eight different SBA-approved lenders.

Case Settlements & Opinions


The Hill: No longer the 'skunks at the picnic:' Poll finds strong support for whistleblowers Americans strongly believe (86 percent) that whistleblowers who report corporate or government fraud should be protected, and that Congress should enact stronger laws protecting those who report corporate fraud (82 percent). Eighty-one percent of likely voters wanted their elected leaders to prioritize passing stronger whistleblower laws, and an amazing 27 percent wanted “immediate” action on this issue.

Dept. of Justice: Medical Device Maker Merit Medical to Pay $18 Million To Settle Allegations of Improper Payments to Physicians Medical device maker Merit Medical Systems Inc. has agreed to pay $18 million to resolve allegations that the company caused the submission of false claims to the Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE programs by paying kickbacks to physicians and hospitals to induce the use of MMSI products.

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